Sunday, February 10, 2008

Orwell - Burmese Days

Since then, each year had been lonelier and more bitter than the last. What was at the centre of all his thoughts now, and what poisoned everything, was the ever bitterer hatred of the atmosphere of imperialism in which he lived. For as his brain developed -- you cannot stop your brain developing, and it is one of the tragedies of the half-educated that they develop late, when you are already committed to some wrong way of life -- he had grasped the truth about the English and their Empire. The Indian Empire is a despotism -- benevolent, no doubt, but still a despotism with theft as its final object. And as to the English of the East, the sahiblog, Flory had come so to hate them from living in their society, that he was quite incapable of being fair to them....There is a prevalent idea that the men at the 'outposts of Empire' are at least able and hardworking. It is a delusion. ... The real work of administration is done mainly by native subordinates; and the real backbone of the despotism is not the officials but the Army. Given the Army, the officials and the business men can rub along safely enough even if they are fools. And most of them are fools. A dull, decent people, cherishing and fortifying their dullness behind a quarter of a million bayonets.

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